Regular Season – A long-term injury to Cam Ward put the Canes behind the 8-ball early, and even a shocking breakthrough season from Jiri Tlusty and great production from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin could not keep Carolina in the playoff race.
Playoffs – The Hurricanes were leading their division by 4 points when Ward was injured for the season on March 3rd, and they ended up 13th in the conference, 13 points out of the playoffs.
Ready To Make The Jump: D Ryan Murphy
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Insulating Ward: The 2013 season went down the drain the moment Ward was injured. Dan Ellis and Justin Peters split time and could not get the job done. This led the Canes to sign former Boston backup Khudobin, who will provide a quality backup presence and should even push Ward for playing time, something that hasn’t been a factor for a few years.
2. Where Did Skinner Go?: Jeff Skinner was on the fast track to stardom, but fizzled last year with only 24 points in 42 games, and a more concerning -22 rating. He needs to get back to the level of 60-70 points on the second line with Jordan Staal (who also had a disappointing season) for the Hurricanes to be competitive.
3. Power Outage: Carolina had the 4th worst power play in the league last season, which is a big reason why Murphy might get thrown right into the fire as almost a power play specialist. He has a lot of learning to do in his own end, but has the offensive and puck skills necessary to quarterback a decent power play.
PROGNOSIS: After years of being in the Southeast Division, the Hurricanes (and the rest of their former division-mates) are going to see a big adjustment to the Metropolitan Division. Its not out of the realm of possibility by any means, but it will take a yeoman’s effort to get back to the post-season this quickly.
PREDICTION: 5th Metropolitan Division
We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Aug 30||Aug 29|
|4||Aug 28||Aug 27||Aug 26||Aug 25|